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Changing the world one graphic at a time

When it comes to The Drag graphic design team, it’s a one-woman show.

When Madi Thomason came to the University of Texas, she had no idea that her side hobby would become vital to starting The Drag audio production house.

Spending two and half hours doing graphic design each day during her senior year in high school, Thomason played around with the idea of going to art school. However, Thomason’s passions really revolved around challenging people’s opinions and wanting to cover news fairly.

She chose to major in journalism and political communication thinking her graphic design skills couldn’t  be used to make a difference. Then, she met professor and director of innovation Robert Quigley. 

“[Quigley] was like, ‘Oh if you get to know me, if you become one of my students, I’ll be an advocate for you,’” Thomason said. “I was like, ‘Note to self: Get to know him.’”

While taking Quigley’s digital storytelling class, Thomason volunteered to be on the design team for Moody Hacks, a hackathon for UT students to brainstorm, design and generate innovative solutions for engaging audiences in the 2018 General Elections. She made advertisements, flyers, signs, T-shirts and stickers to make Moody Hacks a success.

“I did so many hours of work that semester, like preparing that hackathon,” Thomason said. “But it was worth it because after I finished doing the hackathon, [Quigley] brought me on as a part-time worker for The Drag.”

Thomason started working for The Drag as a one-woman graphic designer in 2019, making everything from The Drag’s logo to each of the podcasts’ cover art.

“It’s a lot of stuff,” Thomason said. “But I enjoy doing it. It’s a nice outlet. I usually will listen to a podcast while I do my graphic design work.”

Thomason’s work has now become the face of The Drag. When podcasts release this summer, it’ll be Thomason’s work that listeners will come to know and recognize as The Drag Audio Production House.

Through working with The Drag, Thomason has learned much about the professional career she wants to take on — one that gives her life meaning. “I would just feel empty if I just worked for a branding company and just made images for corporations all day,” Thomason said. “I’d feel like my life doesn’t have a point. 

To make her work mean something, Thomason said she hopes to pursue graphic design as a for companies that are important to her such as a journalistic organization, a governmental organization or even a political campaign. 

“I’m the kind of person that I feel like my life has to have a purpose,” Thomason said. “If you’re not actively changing the world, then what are you doing?”

For now, Thomason’s working on changing the world by working at The Drag. To see more of her designs, take a look around our website (she designed that, too), check out her personal website and any of The Drag’s social media accounts.

Mikayla Mondragon is a rising junior Journalism major at UT Austin and is pursuing a double certificate in Creative Writing and Elements of Computing. In her free time, she loves doing colorguard with the Longhorn Band, reading and sewing.

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